What Is Omnichannel Marketing? (With How-to and Benefits)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 5 May 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Omnichannel marketing is a marketing approach that aims to create consistency among the different ways customers may interact with a brand. Having an integrated, coordinated and cohesive experience as customers move across different marketing channels can help improve the overall customer experience and boost sales. Learning the details of this approach and its aims can be a valuable tool if you're pursuing a marketing career. In this article, we explain what omnichannel marketing is, show you how it differs from multichannel marketing, provide tips for implementing an omnichannel strategy and list some benefits of this approach.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is an approach marketing professionals use to integrate and coordinate a brand across different marketing channels. The aim is to improve customer experience by ensuring consistency of a brand's messaging across different channels. This can include physical marketing channels, such as in-store materials, or digital channels, like websites or social media platforms. Consistency across marketing channels helps to develop a more refined brand image and develop clear expectations among consumers.
Marketing professionals use this approach to create a cohesive, seamless experience for customers across all areas of how they may engage with a brand. This also includes a consistent experience for customers who move between different channels as they go through their shopping experience. Customers may, for instance, make use of buy online, collect in-store options when shopping or receive automated SMS messages or emails to confirm online orders or to confirm order cancellations. This cohesive approach lets customers interact with a brand in real-time in the way they prefer, improving their experience.
Omnichannel vs. multichannel marketing
There is a similar strategy called multichannel marketing. This strategy also focuses on engaging customers across various media channels. While similar to omnichannel in that respect, the two terms aren't interchangeable. The essential difference is that omnichannel takes into account the fact that a customer's purchasing journey may involve shifting between different media channels.
Rather than looking at ensuring brand consistency across different channels, multichannel marketing instead has the more basic intention of increasing a brand's reach by utilising different marketing channels. The multichannel marketing approach focuses on maximising engagement on different channels, rather than creating an integrated overall customer experience and consistent brand image.
Tips for creating an omnichannel marketing strategy
Consider following these steps to create an effective and responsive omnichannel strategy:
1. Collect data
The key to an effective omnichannel strategy is having accurate and timely information on when and how your target customers choose to interact with a brand. Information such as what devices they use, their preferred methods of messaging or the specific products and features they search for are all vital to building a solid omnichannel strategy. It's also important to collect demographic information of target customers, such as age, gender and location, using surveys, customer accounts and social media platform metrics.
You can use this data to build profiles of different customer types and how they like to engage with a brand. Interaction data, such as which online advertisements get the most engagement, what specific products customers purchase most or what products do many customers consider buying but don't actually purchase, can also help identify potential marketing opportunities.
2. Analyse data
Raw data is not actionable unless you can put it into a context that can influence marketing decisions. By properly analysing and interpreting collected data, you can segment customers into different profiles. By segmenting a customer base, you're able to draft personas for the main types of customers who engage with a brand. You can then use this data to create tailored marketing approaches for each persona. You can create tailored written and visual content for different demographics or offer different promotional offers to engage customers who have not made recent purchases.
Using appropriate analytics platforms can help you collect and act upon data in real-time. This allows brands to be agile and react to the needs of specific customers or customer demographics to take advantage of trends faster than competitors. For example, if a certain customer segment increases its engagement with social media content, knowing this in real-time can allow for timely direct marketing to this segment to boost brand engagement and sales. You can automate many of these processes to adapt ongoing marketing campaigns continually based on the activity of customers.
3. Assess the existing customer experience
You may also wish to collect feedback from customers on their existing experiences. Knowing how customers experience a brand as they interact with it can help evaluate strengths and identify possible areas for improvement. This qualitative data can be a valuable tool in crafting a more comprehensive and positive customer experience. It can also be easier to engage with and get responses from existing customers than from general consumers.
You can collect customer feedback on satisfaction with different in-person and digital channels. Gathering metrics, both qualitative and quantitative, can help give a full insight into how effective marketing methods are at engaging, supporting and retaining customers and identify possible ways to improve the customer experience.
4. Map the desired customer journey
Once you've identified and analysed the different customer segments you want to target and understand their habits and interests, you can start the planning process. Consider mapping the journey you want customers to take. The journey of a customer is the steps taken between them discovering a brand and making a purchase. Mapping out this journey for each customer segment can be a valuable tool in planning out your marketing strategy.
Having a map for each different segment of your target audience and the channels through which they may interact with a brand can help devise more targeted advertising campaigns. You can also create strategies for directing customers between different channels, increasing engagement on multiple channels. It's also important to consider any risk factors to plan strategies for avoidance or mitigation.
5. Create brand guidelines
To ensure consistency of advertising content and brand messaging across multiple channels, consider drafting guidelines for a brand. Having continuity in aspects such as the visual presentation of branded content, type of customers represented in advertisements and features of products and services highlighted can strengthen brand identity and help to coordinate the experience customers have across different channels. A strong and consistent brand identity can help boost awareness of and loyalty to a brand.
There are also brand tracking tools that can allow you to measure and predict the health of a brand from the point of view of consumers. An important component of marketing to consider are the values associated with a brand. It's important that brand messages on different channels embody the same values. For example, a company can show it values its customers by ensuring its marketing content emphasises the company's customer service.
6. Test your strategies
It can be beneficial to test strategies before fully implementing them, especially if you require approval from senior management. How and when you try new approaches may depend on the specifics of the customer persona that you're targeting. For example, if you're marketing school supplies, it may be optimal to trial a new marketing strategy during school holidays. Testing strategies can help you identify any unforeseen issues that can help you optimise them and also provide practical evidence that you can present to senior management.
There are also media planning tools that can run scenarios and model potential outcomes of marketing campaigns based upon information on audience characteristics, budget and key performance indicators. Modelling and pre-launch testing strategies can help assess a strategy at minimal costs. This information can inform strategic decisions on future campaigns and marketing approaches.
Benefits of omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel has several benefits for a brand, including:
Increased brand loyalty: Being consistent brand messaging across marketing channels helps customers to build familiarity and trust with that brand, as their expectations are likely to better match with a brand's products and services. This familiarity and trust can help improve brand loyalty, as customers may think of a brand more often when they encounter similar messaging.
Improved customer experience: Though omnichannel looks at different channels of marketing, this strategy largely focuses on customer needs and their experience, rather than engagement metrics.
Increased revenue: By encouraging customer engagement with a brand across multiple channels and working to make the customer journey consistent and personalised can boost sales and increase revenue.
More focused strategies: As omnichannel requires creating a consistent brand image across multiple channels, marketing strategies are more focused. This can help simplify the planning process, as the end goals are more pre-defined.
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